Friday, September 21, 2018

Shannon Daulton Interview

Had another great interview this month for Billiard Buzz!  Gosh I really love doing interviews.

Shannon Daulton! I was so ecstatic he said yes to being interviewed, as I've been following his success for YEARS. I know you all will enjoy getting to know Shannon more, just like I did. It was such a treat working with him!

Here is the link to the awesome interview:


Friday, September 14, 2018

More Tips for Your Tool Box - Understanding Personalities

I know I write about personalities a lot in my blog, but I strongly believe if you not just comprehend different personalities, but realize how they can affect you directly when you're competing, it will give you an advantage over your opponents.  And as you all know, I love it when you all add more tools to your toolbox!

I'm sure a lot of you have heard of Myers-Briggs. I have written about it a couple of times myself.

Long story short,
The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions.
Leadership books teach us you shouldn't treat someone as you would want to be treated.  Instead, you find out their personality (or Myers-Briggs Type) and then treat them based on that.

I realize as I write this out that some of you will be surprised to hear this because it goes against what we've heard for years, "you should treat people how you want to be treated."  But, nope, that isn't really the best thing to do.

So, let me give you one example I can think of right off the top of my head. If you are a supervisor and one of your employees gets an award, how do you give them that award? Myers-Briggs says based on their personality determines how you should give them the award. Some people are fine with getting an award in front of others; they like the accolades and they like being respected by their peers. Other people, however, do not like the attention and they would prefer to get the award handed to them maybe in their office, so as it's not in front of everyone drawing attention to them.

You can see the opposite ways people handle accolades. So, if you were to treat others as you want to be treated, the way you give the award would based on your feelings, not theirs. What you should do instead is to find out how best they would like to receive an award.

So, how does this all relate to competing, Melinda?

I'm glad you asked!

Well, if you're lucky enough to be aware of or already know an opponents' personality ahead of time, then when you play them you can use that knowledge to not let their reactions or emotions bother you.  Let me be specific.  Extroverts can be loud, talk a lot, verbally show their emotions when they are upset (or happy) and those things can be distractions.  Many of us assume they are directing their words directly at us personally.  But in reality, that's just the way they are.  It's not personal.  It's not directed towards you, they are just that way all the time.

Therefore, knowing that their actions/words are not personal to you is a huge advantage.  It will allow you to focus on playing your best, instead of stealing mental energy away from you by getting upset because they are talking too much or you think they are upset with you personally.

Myers-Briggs will also tell us if I, you, or others are a "feeler" or a "thinker."  If you play someone who is a feeler and you upset them, their reaction is going to be completely different than someone who is a thinker.  Thinkers don't usually take things personal and don't think about the issue again.  Feelers will hold on to even the slightest bothersome thing and let it affect them.

Again - how does this help you?  This helps you because if someone reacts in a certain way it's usually not because of something you have done, but it's more so their personality that brings out their attitude.

Some people can be extremely mad on the inside, but you'll never see it on the outside because they just don't show it. But if they do show it, and you know they are an extrovert or a feeler, then you can use that as a tool to not react to how they are acting, realizing that this is just their personality.

I hope this helps you in your pool journey, peeps!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Does Added Money Deter You?

I was pretty shocked last year when a pro player was in the area for a funeral. No...I wasn't shocked he was in town for the funeral, but I was shocked what I heard him say about a potential tournament he could play in.

He was asking about tournaments in Texas that we're coming up for the weekend and I found one flyer on my phone and showed it to him.  It happened to be a really big tournament, which is right down his alley because he is a top Pro.

He looked at the flyer and immediately said, "They're not really adding a lot of money - the flyer implies that, but the added money is just coming out of the large green fees.  It's not worth it for me to go."

So, I tried to find another tournament for him. I did find another flyer and he looked at it and he exclaimed, "Hey, no large green fees and true added money- I'll go to that one."

I have two thoughts about this.

What I think is pretty sad is the state of pool.  It's so bad Pros have to decide if they can attend a tournament or not based on how large the green fees are compared to the added money. Golf and Tennis players don't have to even worry about stuff like that - but pool Pros do because there's just simply not enough money in our sport for them.

The other thought I have is about us amateurs.

Amateurs don't think of things like this. Most of the amateurs I know just want to experience lots of different tournaments, experience new places to play, experience competing against people that maybe we wouldn't normally get to play, etc.  When we look at a flyer of a pool tournament we are interested in, the last thing on our mind is, "What is the green fee and are they adding good money?"  We just want to play pool!  We just want to compete!  So, us amateurs are actually pretty lucky we don't worry about such things.  Why?  Because we aren't hitting the pavement trying to make a living at playing pool like the pros, so we can just go and enjoy playing in any tournament we wish to play in (well, if we can afford the expenses, of course).

In all my years of playing pool, I hadn't heard a player state it wasn't worth it for them to play in a certain tournament because of the reasons this guy said.  It really took me aback.  But, I suppose it does make sense.  As long as they have options of different events, the pros almost need to choose the ones that have better added money and less green fees.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Maria Ho Advice - To Play Your Best

You all know I love to compare sports.  Well, today is no exception!

Recently at Winstar Casino (located on the border of OK/TX) the poker room held their annual River Poker Series.  It's their largest poker event of the year and it lasts about the full month of August and ends with the big poker event over Labor Day Weekend.

Several top pro poker players play in it, and that includes Maria Ho.

She was also signed on this year as their Celebrity Spokesperson.  So, she was on their Instagram page in different areas of the casino for a couple of weeks.  Then I noticed a Q and A session with her.  One question and answer reminded me exactly of our parallel sport (pool), so wanted to share!

Q:  What is the most frustrating thing for you at a table from your table mates? Too much talk, too little talk, not enough room, body odor? I personally get frustrated when someone reeks of smoke or body odor. Thoughts? 
A:  I mean B.O. can be a little rough especially if you couple that with not enough room to hide from it! ? Otherwise I try not to let myself get too frustrated at the poker table because that could be detrimental to my ability to play my best.
I love her answer!

As you all can attest, I actually state quite frequently in my blog about not letting things distract us that can get in the way of us playing our best pool. And she used almost those exact words!  And I will add a reminder, once you figure out there are many things you can't control around you, then that allows for you to focus back on playing your best.  "Give yourself the best chance to play your best."  I should put that on a shirt!  lol.  Too much?

Thank you for reinforcing my favorite advice, Maria!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Distractions - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Games series of my blog) recently told me a disheartening story that happened during one of her recent tournaments.

She was playing a match and on another table a verbal altercation started between two players.  She lamented, "I know I shouldn't have let is bother me and distract me..."

I kinda cut her off (sorry, Katniss!) and told her that while yes we can try to not let things bother us, this was a different situation where we can't help but be distracted.

You see the two players argued for quite some time and were loud.  Katniss had to go to the tournament directors (TDs) (who were watching the altercation, not doing anything about it) and had to ask them if they could handle the situation because it was so disruptive to the matches going on.

I admit I have seen this a lot.

And what people don't realize is, altercations between two players distracts all the matches around them as well.  It's disruptive and therefore causes other players to lose their focus, it interrupts their rhythm, and interferes with their concentration.

However, I do admit that in order to resolve the conflict means more distraction because TDs normally address the situation/players at their table which means other matches around them are still affected until it's resolved.

BTW, Katniss was able to regroup and win her match.  Yay!

And this is a great reminder!  Remember that there are a ton of things that can happen unexpectedly during a tournament that you cannot control.  And being able to refocus is key.  I have written about both of those things a lot, and although it's unfortunate Katniss had to go through that situation during her tournament, I selfishly am glad because it provides me the perfect opportunity to remind you peeps of these two important things that will help you in tournaments.  :)

1.  Things will happen you don't have control over and try to not let them bother you.
2.  Getting distracted is normal.  Refocusing is the key for all great athletes.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Everything is Pool Related

I went to Lake Charles, LA last week for work.  While there, I captured a good shot of the National Weather Service Doppler Radar in Lake Charles, LA:

I posted that photo on my Facebook page and there were several general comments about it.  And then here comes Mike Page, "Here, let me fix that for you, Melinda."  And then he posted this, LMAO:

Red circle cueball, anyone?  Hysterical!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Practicing Scotch - Project Hunger Games

I have pontificated a lot in my blog that players who play scotch doubles together do not necessarily need to practice together if they already know 8ball well.

Katniss changed my mind a bit.  I love seeing different aspects of things!

What I hadn't really thought of was when two people who don't know each other at all play scotch doubles together, it is actually very beneficial to practice together ahead of time because then you get to find out about their personalities.  Some people show a different side to themselves when they are competing, right?  Competition can bring out the worst in someone, and if you don't know that about your partner, you will be surprised.

You see, Katniss played in a scotch doubles tournament with that guy a while back and he is the type of player who shows his emotions when he's upset - usually a small tantrum sort of thing - walking off mad, quipping about her slot selection - nothing loud or obnoxious, just a hint of upsetness.

He's like this all the time when he plays, but she hadn't seen him play a lot in tournaments and didn't know this about him.

So when they played together for the first time, his negative emotions and reactions bothered her, and therefore distracted her from playing well, because she thought she caused his tiny tantrums.  I tried to explain to her after the scotch doubles tournament that he's like that all the time, and while she understood that and it made her feel a little better, there was still some doubt and she continued to take some blame thinking her mistakes on the table upset him.

As we all know, we play our best not distracted.  Therefore, because he showed his upsetness, it definitely distracted her and she didn't play her best.

They decided to play in another scotch doubles event together, but this time they got together to practice a week or so before.  And what did she see?  She saw him act the same in their practice session and it clearly proved that it's just his personality and nothing to do with her!

So, when they played again in their next scotch doubles tournament, she felt much more at ease with him, wasn't taking things personal if he got upset, and they played much better together!  I'm not saying they won the tournament or anything lol, but they played better together and felt better much better because they got to know one another a little better during the practice session.  They are also becoming friends, which helps in scotch doubles, as well.

I definitely failed to see that when two people don't know each other at all, even if they know 8ball well, finding out about their personalities ahead of time can be a key element to shooting well together.

Thank you, Katniss, for the lesson!

Friday, August 31, 2018

Lessons From Another

Back when I lived in Jacksonville, FL about 19 years ago (man, where does the time go?), I was at The Players Championship, one of the four major tournaments in golf.  It's held at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, at Sawgrass, which isn't that far from Jacksonville. If you can't picture the golf course, you'll prolly recognize the famous 17th hole:

As my boyfriend and I were walking around through the dense crowd, he sees someone he knows.  We barely have time to chat because of the moving crowd but he quickly introduces me and then shares, "This is the guy who gave me those golf lessons."  Being the nice girlfriend I am, I engage with him and compliment him, even as we are whisked away in separate crowds, kinda shouting, "Nice to meet you!  He said he loved the video you did of him - really helped his swing!"

My boyfriend then tells me when, "omg, that wasn't THAT instructor, that was a different instructor.  Now he knows I got lessons from someone else and I like the other guys' style."


My bad.

I have mentioned in my blog I have given lessons myself (on pool, not golf) and been doing so for several years.  Well, something similar happened to me the other day.

One of my past clients got lessons from someone else.  My opinion is the guy who was giving the lesson and I are about equal in the knowledge of strategy and so I was curious how the lesson went, wondering about his teaching style compared to mine.  You all know me, I like to learn, too!  My past clients' response was, "It was similar, but it was like you set me up for higher learning!"


I let it sting for a couple weeks (kidding, it didn't hurt, lol) and I was able to ask again about the difference.  They said again it was very similar, about strategy.

Hmm.... but I prodded, as I sensed it was a tad different type of lesson.  Like I said, I'm all about learning too, so I was interested in what would help me when I give future lessons.  They then shared it had been a while since I gave them a lesson, and so with this guy it was like a refresher lesson.

Then they finally added that he was teaching English.  Ahhhh!  That was the difference!  Yes, I only teach strategy and not how to shoot a ball or English.

I want for all my clients and friends to get better lessons and learn so much more than I can offer!  It's all about improving our game to the highest potential.  So yes, factoring in he was teaching not just strategy but also English and shot making, oh yes, that's definitely a higher level!

I felt like that instructor we saw briefly at The Players Championship. lol.  Ouch!

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Ear of a Better Player - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Games series of my blog) played in a tournament a couple of weeks ago and the Saturday of the tournament was a really long day.

However, she had a HUGE positive spin to her long day.

She got to experience something I truly love and appreciate SO MUCH!  She got to sit next to a seasoned player the entire day who talked about shots and the reasons why (or why not) the players shot the right (or wrong) ball.

My heart is racing with excitement as I type this I'm so excited!

I can't begin to express how cool this is!  As we watch a match together, their knowledge and experience is being shared with us about what is correct and why or why not.  It's like your own personal training video right in front of you, but it's live and you can ask questions and/or see right away what is best (or not).

Some of my most memorable big tournaments were not ones I played in, but ones I sat in the stands next to a seasoned player where we discussed shot selections.  I am SO excited Katniss got to experience this!  It's a HUGE learning experience.  Almost a private coaching lesson in itself, right?  To talk about shots, why they should or shouldn't break something out, etc.  Many of us who really love the cleverness of the game are already thinking to ourselves about shot selection, so to be able to have a discussion about shots is truly a gift.

I'm so happy for her!  Damn, I wish I was sitting there, too!

If you have the opportunity to sit next to a seasoned player, lean over and ask, "Hey, what would you do here?"  Ohhhh, the things you learn!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Great White and Billiards

Pro player, fantastic billiards instructor, and previous Mosconi Cup team captain, Mark Wilson, posted something on Facebook that caught my eye the other day.

He went to see the rock band Great White.  If you don't know who they are, then you are just too young anyway and should stop reading (just kidding!).

This is what Mark shared:

"Great White lead guitarist, Mark Kendall, is a terrific pool player and I was not sure if I could beat him, so I brought along some extra firepower, World Champion Nick Varner."

Here they are with the band and check out how excited they are to be next to Nick Varner (I mean, we all act that way, but still):

Mark Wilson went on to say that two guys in the front row recognized Nick Varner, "And it was priceless. They displayed facial expressions of shock, bewilderment, and delight, while trying to play it cool. We all fist bumped 👊🤘."  lol

I didn't know the guitarist played pool - love hearing that!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

RIP Dennis Dieckman

Dennis Dieckman passed away in late July of this year.  He was a cuemaker, or as some have said, "The Cuemaster."  

I didn't know Dennis, but I noticed that his passing made an impact to many on social media and so I wanted to find out more about him.

And what I found was too meaningful and inspirational to keep to myself, so wanted to share it with you all.

I snooped around on his facebook page and realized I have seen him at big tournaments before!  I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting him, but it was cool to recognize him.  I could tell right away he had a great sense of humor - several photos even he's giving us the finger, lol, which made me smile.  He also stated this on his facebook page about where he works:  "Work is something I don't do - I am an artist."  I love that!  And he had a deep love for cats (you all know I'm an animal lover, too).  He also has a website, if you care to read about his travels or would like to see photos from about 50 years ago of him making cues.

And it's obvious he touched lives - they are having a 3-cushion memorial tournament named after him in October.

I don't normally write about people I don't know, but I his last post really touched me, and I wanted to share it.  He posted this on July 3rd, and he passed away on July 27th.

This is what he said:

"URGENT MESSAGE--this is NOT Fake News
I have been told that without Chemo and immune-therapy i have only six months left on this planet and then it is back on the wheel. No problemo mi Amigo[a]s
AS SUCH: am pretty much abandoning FACEBOOK so any message sent using their platform will be ignored. You may of course phone me 24/7 [517-745-883] and I just might answer depending on mood at the time. And of course you can send me a REAL letter [ at POBOX 944, Buena Vista VA 24416 ] and I MOST CERTAINLY REPLY ASAP.
And OF COURSE i HAVE LOTS OF STUFF [from machines to sawdust ] that I need to sell RIGHT NOW IF IT GOING TO DO ME ANY GOOD. Just an other reason to call me. not cry for me [Argentina !!] but whenever you see another person in a wheel chair please ask them if they would like a push. You will meet some remarkable people doing this thang.....and it don't mean a thang, either."

See his humor?  And for someone who knew he wasn't doing well, to even write this and post this just touched me.  I also of course love his advice about helping people in a wheel chair.  I hadn't thought of that before and he's opened my eyes.

Here is some more info that is interesting for fellow cuemakers (MM):

After two tours with the Air Force in Vietnam, Dennis started building cues in 1973. He is one of many quality cue builders who trained for a time in Bert Schrager’s shop, who is another Hall of Fame member. Although Dennis built a lot of pool cues in his lifetime, it was Carom Billiard Cues that he was most famous for. Playing Carom Billiards was Dennis’ love with golf also competing for his heart. Dennis was one of the few American cuemakers that kept the butterfly pointed carom cues with wood thread joints going in the USA for a couple of decades. That was a great contribution, but his greatest contribution to our industry has been teaching cuemaking with his videos that go back to the 1980’s and his Cueniversity where he taught in shop cuemaking. One of Dennis’ students invented the Predator shaft and Dennis was involved in that. Dennis shunned CNC machinery, and instead preferred old school points, butterflies and pantographed inlays. He was also a founding member of both the American and International Cuemakers Associations (ICA). Dennis was inducted into the ICA Hall of Fame in 2008. Dennis was honored to have his cues placed in the Smithsonian Institution. Dennis served as assistant director in the ICA from 2004 until he passed away on July 27th, 2018 at age 71.

RIP Dennis.  Thank you for your contribution to the billiard community.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Interview with Toddy - August 2018 Issue

The August issue of the online magazine, Billiard Buzz, is out and this month I interview the amazing and inspiring Toddy Deatherage! You will be just as surprised as I was with this interview with Toddy. Thank you Toddy for sharing your life with us!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Yelling at Streams

I fully admit I'm not the best 8-player in the world.  But, hey, I'm not shy at all to admit I do know the game well.

Just to brag a minute to prove my mad 8ball skillzzz:  3-time Texas State scotch doubles champion, ACS State Champ, BCAPL State Champ, 2-time ACS and 2-time BCAPL Women's National Team event Champs, several State level and league level 8ball championships, etc, etc.

As a matter of fact, when I give lessons it's usually on 8ball strategy because of my enhanced knowledge of the game.  I have said before much of it is due to reading numerous times Phil Capelle's book, Play Your Best Pool (as I learn something new every time I read it it seems), but also due to the ton of experiences I gained in all the 8ball league and 8ball tournaments I played in the last 15 years.  (I say 15 years because I wasn't really paying attention to the nuances of the game for the first 10 years of my pool journey).

Because of all the above (skills, experience, and history of giving lessons), I found myself yelling at the BCAPL Nationals stream the other day a couple of weeks ago!  They were streaming some of the matches live from Vegas.

You see, I'm watching these players on the stream compete in the 8ball division and I am shocked they keep making their open balls when they have other balls in clusters or can't be made.

I live alone and so all of a sudden I wake my rescue Pitbull who was napping on the floor, as I yell, "PLAY SAFE!  Omg, play safe!"  As she comes running to me all excited thinking I was talking to her lol.

I don't understand people who keep shooting their open balls in when they can't run out!  I shake my head in disbelief and want to grab them for a 2-hour 8ball strategy session on the table right away lol.

Here's the thing peeps, if you can't run out, you don't MAKE your open balls!  Instead, you punt them and move them to a better position to break up clusters or give you yourself a better chance of running out at your next turn.

The chick on my little phone on the stream was making wide open balls while her and her opponent both had balls tied up.  "PLAY SAFE!  Omg, please, don't make that... shit... she made it."  Then I asked my phone, "Now what is she going to do??"

Yep, she didn't get out, and she lost a great opportunity to be in the best position over her opponent.

Both players didn't know the true strategy of 8ball so they both left themselves with clusters of balls and now stuck with no good opportunities to break things up.  It was a train wreck for sure lol.

I will repeat myself because it's that important.  Don't make your open balls if you can't run out.  Instead, play safe by moving your open ball to a better position to help you in the near future.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Practice Not a Home - Project Hunger Games

Katniss (of the Project Hunger Game Series section of my blog) has a pool table at home.

Yet, she goes and practices at different pool rooms before her big tournaments.

I was so happy when I noticed last year she was doing this!  As I have written one thousand and ten times (I might be exaggerating), practicing in a pool room is key because that's the same elements you will encounter in a tournament.  I think practicing at home can hurt us.  Quiet, no distractions, nothing like a pool tournament hahaha!  I do submit that practicing drills at home is okay to do (but I still prefer the atmosphere of a pool room).

So, I asked Katniss why she goes to a pool room to practice.  You know, to get validation of all the amazing tips I share. ;)


Her answer wasn't anywhere close to what I said above!

WTF.  Does anyone even listen to me anymore?  Damn.  I'm all broken hearted over here.

Her reason was her table at home is slow, and she wanted to play on tables that were faster, because her up-coming tournament was on fast cloth.

Ooooh, well fine then, use that as a reason.

She will also practice before tournaments at pool rooms when her up-coming tourney is played on a 9 foot or bar table, because she has an 8 foot table at home.

What I like about this entire post are several factors:  She puts in time to practice, she is aware of the size tables in her events and accommodates her practice, she is always aware of the conditions of tables and makes adjustment to practice on similar cloth, and she is going to many different events!

She puts in time, she does her homework, and she plays in many different types of events.

Now, what about you reading this?  Please tell me you aren't just showing up to a tournament this weekend with no preparations??  Don't disappoint me, peeps!  :)

Life Happens - Danielson Series

I played pool for 25 years.  Not just casual pool, but dedicated on leagues and traveled around playing in big events and followed a few pool tours.

So, I have a little bit of experience with what I'm about to talk about.  Just a smidgeon (sarcasm on, lol)

You see, there is a reason why I have not blogged that much this year about Danielson.  Life happens.

Yep, Life.

And life is important!  And life events sometimes keep us away from pool.

For me, life moments that kept me away from pool were all the normal "big" life things.  I got married in my mid 30s and that kept me away from dedicating myself to pool as I started my "new" life with my then husband.  When we divorced, pool was back on top of the list!  When my Dad passed and then 5 years later my dear Mom passed, both of these life events put a pause on my pool playing days.  Most recently, stopping drinking alcohol has kept me from playing pool. (one year and 8 months as I typed this, yay! :)

These are all big "life" events that make us take a back seat to dedicating our time to playing pool.  Our focus is on other things going on in our lives.

And guess what?  Yep, it's all normal!

So, Danielson recently changed jobs.  That is a big life event that has curtailed his pool playing time.  Further, he is working hard on paying off some big bills.  His priority has shifted a little bit right now and so pool is not on the forefront of his mind.

Again, this is normal people!

We all go through big life events in our pool journey that sometimes derails our quest to play pool often.  And what I found, is each time I got back into pool, I played better and was more knowledge and more mature.

It's normal for people to take breaks for life events.  I know a few guys who took like 15 years off from playing pool to help raise their kids.  And now they are back, playing good still.  Several other friends moved and/or had kids - all things that require us to take a break from pool, right?

But remember, if you are going through a life event, don't fret about the game you love - pool will come back if you want to play again.  :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Golfer Showing Emotions

Golf seems to lately be more in the headlines about players acting up or getting upset or, gasp!, showing emotions.

I realize golf is traditionally an honor sport where everyone acts professional and courteous, but lately a few things have hit the news about players.

What's funny to me is, these "antics" are so uncommon for golfers, that their actions actually make headlines and articles are written about them.

O.M.G.  I saw this every single weekend of a billiards Tour stop.  Although we aren't happy with players acting like ass's, it's not out of the ordinary.

But oh!  Have a golfer barely shake someone's hand and you make news!  Read the article here.

Hey people, he was upset!  He showed emotions, and so he didn't give a firm handshake.  They even called him "classless."  Now, I agree he could have tucked his emotions aside and gave the guy a big hug and kiss (kidding of course), but it's funny how when a golfer shows emotions, it makes such news.

We deal with this all the time at pool tournaments.  Sure, we aren't happy about it either, but it's not front page news.

I admit when I ran the Omega Tour I ended up putting in place some rules and regulations for sportsmanship because players kept getting out line.  But a limp handshake?  That just proves you were beat!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sleep is Key

I noticed the past few weeks that I haven't been getting good sleep.

I usually fall asleep pretty easily, but lately I am staying up an hour or more past my normal bed time.  And I am still waking up in the middle of the night, too.

Why do you care about my sleep patterns?  You prolly don't lol.

But, it makes me glad to know I'm not playing league right now.  The number one most important thing I need to play good pool, to give me a chance to play my absolute best, is the all-allusive SLEEP!

So, since I've been tired lately, I am just thankful I'm not playing league or have any big tournaments coming up.

I actually used to get anxiety when I couldn't go back to sleep or didn't get good sleep because it was so necessary for my game.  If anything, not playing has allowed less anxiety and I actually sleep better with less worry about how tired I might be.

Am I making sense?  lol.

Bottom line:  get some shut eye, folks!  Rest helps.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Enjoying League Again

A few friends of mine have confided in me that they are dreading league because there is some drama going on.  Whether that's from players arriving late consistently, people not getting along, players getting jealous and acting up, or people not agreeing with the captain - the pulse is the same:  they aren't having fun at league and dreading going.

Every time my friends vent to me, I just smile inside and am grateful I don't have to deal with all that anymore.  It kinda reinforces my decision to not play pool.


"Oh, here comes the howevers…." you are thinking lol

However, there have been a couple of recent instances where some friends have shared they are actually enjoying pool again.

Wait, what?

Turns out, they are no longer feeling pressure and therefore they are having fun again!  They have joined teams that are about having fun, and not about trying to be in first place.  Further (and most importantly), they no longer HAVE to show up to play league, no longer feel pressure to win, and no longer have teammates that are getting on to them if they happen to lose a match.

I admit, it was a nice change of pace to hear some GOOD news about leagues and my friends renewed joy again in playing the game we all love.  :)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Doubles with Dave

I had another big smile moment last night.

I met with a VERY dear friend of mine for dinner.  She is moving out of state in a few weeks and so we met up to catch up and say our "temporary" goodbyes.  I plan to visit her in the coming years and walk in the Ozarks with her!

She is one of these women in life that we judge before we know them.  She was tough to play because she was so intimidating and I because incorrectly assumed sometimes rude.  What I would find out was she was raised in a tough world, which made her a menace around the pool table.  What I didn't know 10 years ago was this tough gal had a heart of gold and a love for life that most of us can only hope for.

She is one of those people that once we get to know the real them, they turn out to be a gem in the world and we find we are lucky if we get to be a part of their life.  She has made a huge impact to me personally and even though I don't see her that much, she still has a part of my heart.

She has lived in the area (Dallas-Fort Worth) for over 30 years.  And she mentioned last night that my friend Dave Faver and her used to play scotch doubles together about 20 or 25 years ago!  I just smiled and smiled :)  I love that so many people are still sharing stories about Dave with me.  Warms my heart.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Saturday Versus Sunday Noise

There's a lot of things a Tournament Director handles that many of the players don't even realize.  And, by the way, this is just fine to us!  We would rather you all focus on just playing and not worry about anything related to running a tournament or the nuances of running a tournament.

One of the things players don't really realize is the noise level difference between Sunday play and Saturday play of a 2-day tournament.

Saturdays are JAMMED PACKED with players and spectators.  We are trying to whittle down from a field of around 100 to 24 (or less) the next day.  So, the majority of the players are there all day on Saturday wall-to-wall with only a handful of players left on Sunday.

Tiger Woods recently dealt with (again) a fan yelling during his swing.  You can read about it here.  

Golf is like pool on Sundays.  It's very quiet on Sundays of a pool tournament, less hustle and bustle and less players.  However - the crowd of golf is like a pool tournament on Saturdays.

Okay, let me get to my point before you all go leave me to go read the National Enquirer.

The point is, on Saturdays Tournament Directors are mostly focused on running the tournament smoothly and efficiently.  On Sundays, though, because there are less people around, less matches playing and less fans watching, the room is much more quieter - which means noises are more of a distraction on Sundays.  And that directly relates to a TD being more active to ensure there is less distraction for the players on Sundays.

Hear me out (of the irony of noise lol).  There is so many people around on Saturdays, literally elbow to elbow sometimes, that a full event seems like one big non-stop noisy atmosphere.  If someone was to fall off a chair, most of the room may not even know that happened.  But on Sunday it is so much quieter, more open spaces, less people, fewer matches, and that all leads to less noise.  And that person falling off the chair on Sunday makes the entire room suddenly look around because it was so quiet.

The article I referenced went on to talk about the tradition of golf and the quietness of that sport.  He asks, what if that changed, though?

The guy said, "Noise isn’t the enemy here. Silence is."

And that reminds me of Sundays of a pool tournament.  We get less distracted in a room full of people while we play our matches on Saturdays.  On Sundays, though, there is so few people and it's therefore so quiet, the poor, innocent guy who is just trying to place a food order gets under our skin because he seems so loud!  lol.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Interviews Overlapping

The July interview in Billiard Buzz is out.  Andrew Cleary was my fun and clever interviewee!  It is a great interview and I highly recommend it.

In order to prepare for future editions, I'm usually working on the next interview in time for it to be ready for the next month.  Case in point is the interview for August.  I'm working on that month now and I get so excited about the interviews!  It's actually tough for me to keep a secret who I am interviewing!  And August is no exception - I can't wait for you all to get to know this player better.

If you happen to actually read my interviews (which I hope you do as it's one of my greatest joys in life), then you know I ask some of the same questions to each person:  Who helped your game, what is your favorite tournament, what was your favorite match, etc.

As you may recall back in June I published the interview about one of my best friends who passed away in early May (Dave Faver).  What is SUPER cool about the August interview is when I asked the player, "What is your most memorable match?" he shared a story and it was about Dave Faver!  I just smiled and smiled and was so happy to read that.  :)

Sorry.... you all will have to wait until mid August to read it.

I know, Imma tease!  But, had to share this really happy moment with you all.  :)

Friday, July 20, 2018

League and Fun and Friends

A friend of mine recently hadn't been playing league.  Either due to choice of not playing on certain leagues anymore, and/or because another one of her leagues was in between sessions.  So, she just wasn't playing league right now.

Well, one of her friends convinced her to play on their team.

And what she found was - she REALLY needed the time with friends and time away from the "real world" for awhile.

I think a lot of people look at league as something they have to do - their team needs you or you need to put in weeks to qualify for State or Nationals or the team is short and you have to play (no matter what!).

But league becomes more fun when you can play on your terms.  

And my friend actually needed a break.  She wondered at first, "Do I even have time to go to league tonight?  I have so much to do."  But what she found was she enjoyed the break, enjoyed playing the game she loves, and enjoyed being around her friends.

When league because a "I have to go" (for whatever the reason) to "I am just going to go play," it becomes fun again!

So happy she said "yes" to the new team.  :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Losing the Touch

One thing I realized while at ACS Nationals in May was:  my pool game is rusty.

One of the very few matches I was watching, one player had 2 balls left, another 1 ball.  Only other ball on the table was the 8ball.

I was standing there wondering what Player One was going to do.  How would she play safe, what would be her best shot?

I had an answer in my head, and then she shot a safety and it was not something that even came to my mind.  And I realized, "Damn, that was so obvious, too."

I didn't stick around long, instead had a break from working the front desk and wanted to put in some time on the casino gambling tables, but it sure showed me that not playing pool has hurt my memory/ability to see good safes and/or correct shots.

I watched another match a few days later and I could guess the safes right away, so maybe my memory muscle was already being worked seeing that other match.

Does this make me want to play pool again and keep up my skills?  Sorry, boys, NOT.

But, it's okay to share people are correct - the more time I stay away, the more it will effect me.  Oh, and I'm okay with that.  :)

Monday, July 16, 2018

Reasons for Recent Successes

I've always been fascinated when a player all of sudden finishes really high in a big tournament.  If it's an up-and-coming player, it makes sense because they are usually working on their game.  But when a seasoned player all of a sudden does really well when they had been missing from the podium for a while, it makes me want to find out the scoop!

I'm talking about players who have always played well, but hadn't had many high finishes the last few years, and now all of sudden placed high in a big tournament.

That happened to two of my friends recently and so I started my investigation right away for you all!  I want us all to learn from them. :)

The first player I reached out to is a good friend of mine and so he was chatting with me honestly about his thoughts on why he had propelled in his latest big tournament.  When I ran the Omega Tour, he only placed in the top 4 maybe once (when the tour first started), so what was the reason for the recent top finish?

He said he actually hasn't been playing hardly at all, especially the last three months.  I told him sometimes not putting so much into practicing can actually help us with no expectations, which allows us to enjoy the game again.

He relates and replied, "Yes I agree.  I was at a point where I was putting too much pressure on myself and overthinking.  I was able to keep things simple for most of the tournament weekend.  And also I want to have more fun when I play.  That got lost somewhere for me along the line."

I was SO happy to see how well he had finished.  So happy for him :)

At that same tournament, I noticed another player who had a higher-than-usual finish.  Then at his next big event, he had yet another top finish!  So, I reached out to congratulate him, too.  And while I did that, might as well ask what he's been doing to help his game.

After the kudos, I asked him, "Have you done something different with your game?"

"No, not at all... just gotta be positive and realize I can run out and beat anyone in the tournament."

That didn't help us, did it?  lol  So, I prodded, "But is this new thinking?"

"No, not really," he said.

Ugh.  There has to be something!

He then continued, "Just gotta do it and also stay focused through the waiting during the tournament.  The waiting just sucked the life outta me in the past."

I still wasn't satisfied with his response, lol.  I asked him, "So you just came to aha thoughts about what you need to do as far as your thinking?"

"Pretty much."

So, let me translate this for you peeps, lol.  I think he got frustrated with not finishing well, knowing damn well he has the ability and talent.  He gave it some deep thought as to WHY, and what he realized was he needed to be more positive about his own game, and also remain focused throughout the entire event (and not get frustrated with long waits, etc - things you can't control).

Pretty good translation, huh?  It's okay to be impressed.  j/k!  :)

The difference between the two is almost opposite.  The first player I talked to stop thinking too much and started to enjoy the game with less pressure.  The second player thought about why he wasn't finishing well and realized it was his attitude after much thought.

I think both are key to successes.

Congrats again to my friends!

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Rabbit Talk

I was watching a player in a match last year on the Sunday of an Omega tournament.  He really studies the game and practices, and it shows in his increasingly high finishes, even though he's not yet one of the top players.

I am very impressed with how much he has improved and how well he knows the game.

In this match, I saw him miss a crucial 8 ball.  He was trying to get shape on the 9ball, but he went for a tough shot on the 8ball and missed it in the side pocket.  As soon as I saw the shot, I thought to myself he should have used a different route to make the 8 ball (an easier shot) so he would for sure have a shot on the 9ball.  In other words, he took a risky shot and because it was a tough shot, it was missed.

Because I really like the guy, I decided to share with him (at the next tournament) my thoughts on his shot selection.  You have to realize I can't just walk up to some dude and start giving advice, I actually have to be careful how I even broach the subject.  Some guys take offense to a chick trying to show them something, so it can turn into a dicey thing.  But, I think you all know me well enough to know I am careful with how I word things to not embarrass him, upset him, or make him think I am better than him.  I am just offering advice.

Long story short, the conversation went very well!  We chatted about the different options and he explained why he made that shot selection (he wanted to get perfect on the 9 ball) and I explained why I thought it was better to go a different route (easier shot and still have shape on the 9ball).

After the great discussion, I shared with him I was glad he accepted my opinion so well, as sometimes guys don't react as receptive as he did.  He then shared something really cool with me.

He said that it's just like taking advice from a rabbit.

Uh, what?

He said in his country (Peru) there is a saying that you can listen and take advice from anyone, but it's up to you to decide if you want to use it or not.

I loved it!  But then I asked, "Uh, what about the rabbit, though?"

He smiled and explained, "Oh, the reason why the quote mentions a rabbit is because in Spanish it rhymes.  Un consejo hasta de un conejo."

I always find it fascinating when someone uses a phrase or quote from their childhood or country.  Makes me feel like they remain connected to their history and they let me see a part of it.  That day was a cool day for me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Being a Team Player Can Hurt - Project Hunger Games

I admit it.  I feel bad for my friend, Katniss of Project Hunger Games.

You see, she has a lot of talent, potential and love for the game.  However, she has a bit of a disadvantage.  What is this disadvantage I speak of?  Well, unfortunately, her own teammates.  

You see, she confided in me back in May that she doesn't get to play all 5 of her games on league night because she has teammates who complain about wanting to play, or feel they deserve to play, or whine they aren't being played more.  So, she gives up her 5 chances every league night to improve her own ranking on the league so her teammates get to play more.  Even though she's the top player on their team, she still does this selfless act.

So, what happens when people complain?  We get in a foul mood, get a bad attitude, and therefore can't compete well.  This in turn (oh the irony!) upsets her teammates because she's isn't winning all her games.  Little do they know, they are the ones affecting her play!

So, she is sacrificing not playing as much, not playing her best because she's upset and it not only affects the team standing, but her individual stats as well.

Katniss shared, "I get to the point that I don't enjoy competing....its not fun anymore. So I don't try, because I'm dreading it."

But a month later something really awesome happened.  She struggled with her unhappiness for many weeks and then decided to do something about it after giving it some thought and talking over options with her husband.  

She decided to have a team meeting and they set up ground rules about who should play and why (based on stats and future incentives).  This is another ironic thing as it not only helps her, it also helps the weaker players to give them incentive to help their own game so they get to play more!  So it was a much-needed change/decision that ended up helping the entire team!

Being on a team is one of the highs in life, but it can sometimes come with conflict and drama.  Once those are ironed out, watch out - fun times and better play ahead!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Quieting the Talker - The Danielson Series

Have you all wondered where Danielson was?  Yea, me too.  Finally heard from him, though.

The other day I got a text out of the blue, "You busy?"

I hastily replied, "Not really, just sat down at a poker table in the poker room of Winstar Casino lol.  What's up?"

Turns out he was about to play a guy who was a real talker - one that had in the past got under his skin for being kinda cocky, crappy,and just talking too much when they played.  I guess you could say their banter got out of hand and became personal and rude, instead of fun jabbing among friends.  And now it was down-right sharking.

Danielson said he wanted to talk about the match with him.  I told him via text, "The goal is to shoot his nuts off.  Doesn't matter who your opponent is.  If he talks smack, punish him.  And focus on 3-ball-shape, you'll be fine."

His reply was, "Gotcha - best way to shut him up is to run out."

I reiterated, "Yep.  Punish him for talking."

The thing I failed to remind him was to not get upset.  When I say, "punish" someone, it's not an upset reaction, more so you are laughing at them, I'll show you not to talk to me that way hahaha by running out.  

I asked Danielson a few days later if my golden words of insight were helpful (I'm an only child, feedback is key for us only children, lol).  He said it was when he thought of it, yes.  So, I patted myself on the back and typed up this blog entry :)

Btw, he ended up losing only hill-hill, so I consider that a success!  From his perspective it wasn't, as he lost, but to overcome an adversary who you know ahead of time can get under your skin, is a success, not a defeat.  Then again, that didn't affect my pocketbook, so I can call it a success easier than Danielson can lol.

Remember people, punish them with your art on the pool table.  Quiet them and don't let others affect you.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Tongue Lashing After a Loss

I find it interesting, (well, actually disappointing and sometimes shocked is better terminology), the way people act when they lose.

And I don't really mind people slamming fists on tables or snapping their cues (although I feel bad for the cues, lol).  But what I'm really referring to is the tongue lashing a player may get because they defeat someone.

One of my friends (I'll call her "CJ") was playing in the masters division of a national tournament once.  She decided to see how she would fair among the top players, as before she was kinda timid about if she really deserved to be there or not in that division.  The irony of her reason to play or not and the story I'm about to share about what happened to her, is truly astonishing.

In her first or second match, she defeated her opponent (another friend of mine, who I will call "Suzie") and instead of shaking her hand nicely and just walking away, "Suzie" said something to like, "You shouldn't even be in this division.  What have you accomplished to be here?"


When I heard this, I knew immediately the only reason "Suzie" said that was because she lost, but that doesn't mean it was right at all that she was so rude and mean.

The thing is, it stung to "Suzie" that she lost.  And yet, it stung to "CJ" when "Suzie" said that crappy comment.

But I was shocked the one thing she decided to say was about why 'CJ" was in the division anyway. Why would that even matter?

I know both ladies well and both are super sweet.  But it shows how the game can really bring out the worst in us when we lose, especially when we feel we shouldn't have lost.

Let me explain a little further.

I happened to walk by that exact match and I noticed there were friends of "CJ" watching their match but also talking too loud and being too talkative.  So, I think "Suzie" reacted that way not just because she lost, but because she also had other negative things going against her that upset her throughout the match.

BUT STILL.  Doesn't mean it was right to chew her out for winning.

So many people do this.  It's not unheard of, unfortunately.  People even do this in relationships, or with people they don't even know.  Take for instance someone who gets irate at bad service at a restaurant or standing in line too long while their blood boils from frustration.  The waiter or cashier gets chewed out.  It's the same concept:  getting really upset or embarrassed or pissed and taking it out on someone else by snapping at them.  But, doesn't mean it's right.

I actually grew up being verbally abused and I didn't even realize until my mid 20s it wasn't right to yell at someone.  Yes, really.  And then it took me 10-15 more years finally stop being that way through much help from loved ones.  Seriously, 10-15 more years to stop, even after I knew it was wrong.

So, I can understand and relate.  Still.... doesn't mean it's right.

"CJ" was mortified and hurt, and it really made her feel badly her opponent was so rude to her.  It's tough to feel elated to win a big match when someone chews you out right after.

BTW, "CJ" ended up in the money and she proved to herself she does indeed belong in that division; no matter what "Suzie" thought.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Game of Skill

I was talking to an out-of-towner back in late April.  We were having dinner, mostly talking about our friend Dave Faver and the options ahead of us (his close circle of friends) to help Dave with his quality of end of life care.

This friend used to go on the road with Dave back in the 70s and has kept in touch with him all these years.  It was a very tough dinner, but one we both needed as we were both leaning on each other for comfort, advice, and friendship about the man we both adored.

After a while, he asks me, "I don't even know this, but do you play pool, too?"

I looked at him funny, How do you not already know that?  I'm famous!

Instead I said, "Yea, played pool about 25 years and also ran a couple of tours for about 15 years total."

He said he could never really get into the game as much as Dave was, but still loved it (and occasionally still plays league).  And then he shared,  "You know, there's not another game with such high skill, that pays so little."

Amen to that!

Monday, June 25, 2018

While You're Learning

Back in the mid to late 90s, my dear friend and top player, June Hager Walter, suggested I read a book entitled, Mental Toughness Training for Sports.  I wasn't sure why she suggested I read it at the time, but now of course it makes complete sense:  I needed some help with mental toughness!  It turned out to be a REALLY good book for me to read.  And, it was at the beginning of my pool journey and it was an enlightening book for someone who had never competing in sports before.  But it's a great book for all competitors, no matter where they are in their sports journey.

The bonus to this book was there is a section in it that explains how to "get in the zone."  I have consequently shared that concept with many people throughout my life, to help them in upcoming big tournaments.

But, that is not the topic of this blog post today.  Sorry!  Maybe I'll share "how to get in the zone" tidbit someday here in my blog, OR maybe you can read the book yourself :)

The other huge thing I learned from that book was, if you played your best, you gave your best effort, then you should not be upset at yourself if you lose.  I learned from Mental Toughness Training for Sports that if I played lazy or didn't give 100%, then I needed to accept that I didn't play my best.  This advice helped me from getting frustrated or depressed about my play.  I loved that info!  It was very helpful for me.

But the point of this blog post is something not even related to what was IN the book, but what I did while I read the book.

For whatever reason, I decided to stop practicing while I read the book.  Back then I was hitting balls several times a week.  But I wanted to focus on the words of the book and take the time to read it thoroughly with dedication.  So, I didn't hit balls the entire time I read it.

I mentioned to June in the middle of reading the book that I stopped hitting balls.  She confided that was exactly what I was suppose to do.  What?  I asked her, "Then why didn't you just suggest that to me?"  She replied she wasn't sure I would really do that, if she suggested it, lol.  But, it was kinda crucial to stop trying to improve my physical game while I read that book - I suppose so I could focus on one thing at a time.

While we can for sure multi-task (or so we think - check this out), it was imperative for my absorption to just focus on reading the book, and not also trying to improve my physical game at the same time.

Btw, the author is James Loehr.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

I'm Baaack!

It's not like me to take a hiatus from blogging.  I actually had a couple of people tell me they missed me.  How Sweet!   Oh wait, they missed my blog posts, not necessarily me lol.  :-/

Well, what was up with me?

As I shared before, I only blog after work hours at my desk.  So, if I'm not blogging, there is a DIRECT connection to that.

Most of April I was with my friend Dave, mostly visiting him after work because he was not doing well with the affects of brain cancer.  And then in early May I was with him every day while he was in hospice.  He passed away on May 7th.  Pretty tough time.

May 10-19th, I was in Vegas helping out at ACS Nationals.

When I got back in town, around May 29th, I was the lucky soul who got an infected root canal.  Fun times!  I do NOT recommend it.  I was out most the rest of the next week.

The infection didn't go away with the first round of antibiotics, so they had to put me on a stronger dose.  I had no idea that strong antibiotics causes one to feel ill.  So, I didn't stick around work to type up blogs while feeling horrible and lethargic.  Sorry!  I know, where is my dedication??

Then I went to Maryland for work for a week, which again kept me away from my blogging desk.

So, finally, I am feeling well enough to hang out after work and blog for you peeps.  Did you miss me??  

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Playing Badly in the Middle of a Match

So, you may be wondering (or not, lol) if I watched any pool matches while I was helping out at ACS Nationals in Vegas in May. 

Well, the Admin desk was right outside the large convention room of pool tables, and I had to make a few announcements at the Tournament Desk, which one could only get to by walking by the extremely LONG row of pool tables, so yes, I watched some matches, lol.  I would mostly stop in my tracks and watch matches of friends as I passed, just to see how they were doing.  Or, a few times I would watch the Master players, just because I like to compare my choices with their shot selections.

I probably didn't even watch an hours worth of matches, honestly.  If I was down at the convention area, I was working.  When I wasn't working, I was off to New York New York casino or Harrah's casino to gamble/eat!

At one point though, I did go see how a close friend and her team were doing.  I walk up, and she's at the table.  Two teammates tell me something like, "You need to talk to her, something is going on.  We feel bad for how badly she's struggling and feeling."

So, I sat down and watched her play that game and could tell she was playing timid, which can be a sign of negative thoughts or embarrassment concerns. 

What she needed was a boost of confidence!

After she lost, she came outside the playing area and I got up and hugged her.  She didn't really want to talk to me, much less anyone else.  She was SO upset with herself for playing badly and she felt horrible for her team that she wasn't playing better for them.  As I hugged her, she started to cry - that's how much this bad play was affecting her.

I tried to give her some advice.  But as we all know, offering advice or opinions when someone is emotional is not usually the best time and your words aren't received very well, lol.  But, I still wanted to try, even though I could tell she just wanted to walk away from me so I didn't see her tears.  But, I was persistent and wouldn't let her go.  I told her that just acting confident, makes us confident.  "Scientific tests have proven this with actors," I shared with her, not that she cared, but I didn't want her to think I was just spouting off stupid anecdotes lol.  I told her the way to resolve this the best is to sit up real straight in her chair during her matches, even exaggerate her back being SUPER straight, so her body could FEEL like it's confident.  This act alone does wonders.

I also told her to take deep breathes.  Really breathe in, HOLD, then don't let the air out until she can feel her blood pulsating from her veins.  Then let the air out slowly.  This is THE best way to slow down our adrenaline.

I looked at her and she wasn't deep breathing at all.  "Are you breathing?  I don't see you holding your breath at all," I told her jokingly, but also being serious.  She tried to take a deep breath for me, as I still saw some lingering tears run down her cheek.

She was up again and off she went.  I sat and watched and sure enough, she lost another game.  BUT!  I could tell she was playing a little more confident, just happened to not win.

She was up right away again and I walked away, as I didn't want to be THAT parent who is eagle-eyeing her kid.  But I was still watching... and she ran out!

You could see how pleased she was and she was finally smiling!  I was so proud of her and was happy she overcame her bad/nervous/embarrassed play and started to play pool again!  Such a proud Momma I was :)

So, being the person I am, I asked her later that night or the next day with my chest out proudly, "So, uh, did my advice help you?  I helped you, right?"

She replies, "I dunno."

WTF.  What do you mean you don't know??

I mean, she was playing better right away after I gave her a pep talk and was more confident right away.  Did I not the SAVE THE DAY??!

hahhahaha.  Actually, all funniness aside, I don't think it was my golden words of advice at all.  I honestly think it was more so I let her get her emotions out by crying and that was a release of stress and emotions.  THAT is what I think helped her.  Not my experienced words of advice that can move mountains.  hahaha

I think the key here is for players to recognize when you are having a "break down" or whatever you want to call it.  For guys, the cure/help may be to go to the bathroom and splash your face with water, or for them to go outside and yell real quick.  For me, I would have done some jumping jacks in the bathroom to literally snap out of whatever was going on.  Any type of release for whatever is interfering and causing your bad play.

Of course, the other solution could be all about mental activities to help you.  For some people it's a physical solution, for others it's mental activities that can help reverse our negative thoughts.  Deep breathes, filling you confidence flask, remember to love the game, etc.

So, let's be clear.... I'm not suggesting players cry, but I am suggesting to be aware enough that SOMETHING is going on and then you need to do something about it.  Whatever your "something" is, do it so it helps you snap out of your bad play hopefully in time. 

Good luck, Cry Babies!  Just kidding :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Fun With Team Names

I mentioned before when I helped out at ACS Nationals in Vegas in May that I was more talkative and more friendly than usual.  I really turned "up" my personality and smiled more than normal.  I explained that the reason was because I wasn't dealing with stressful issues so in return, I was able to focus on being bubbly for the players.

Sounds silly, right - I should have been bubbly at all times running the Omega Tour, but I cannot handle well some issues with a smile on my face, lol.  I'm not that good at acting.

Anyway, one of the main things I did to help run the Admin desk at ACS Nationals was I would create checks for the players who placed in the money.  So, with about 20 different divisions, it was chaotic at times lol.  Eventually we transitioned from individual to teams and then I had fun with the team names!

Here are a few examples:

One team came up and said, "We need our check."

I needed their team name so I could find their voucher.  I would ask, "What is your team name?"

They replied, "Don't Hold it Against Us."

I replied, "Okay I wont."

hahah - get it?  Their team name was Don't Hold it Against Us.

Another team, this one in the men's 8-ball team division needed their payout check as well.  "What is your team name?" I asked.  "8 Balls a Fire," they responded.

I asked them if they wanted to split the check or want one single check?  They said split the check.  So, I got all their names and realized they had 5 players.  I kindly informed them their team name should instead be, 10 Balls A Fire.

get it?  lol

At one point Tournament Director John Lewis asked me, "Can you make a check out for These Fine Ladies, please?"

I tried to find their voucher and couldn't find it.  Turns out they were fine ladies, but that wasn't their team name lol.

Towards the end of the tournament, the players are exhausted and as soon as they lose, they come right away to the Admin desk to get their checks.  On the final day, a female teammate came to claim their check.  I asked her the team name and she said, I Forgot.  I start looking for their voucher and again... lol.... it was a comment, not her real team name lol.  She was so tired, she did forget what their team name was, haha.

It was a lot of fun reading all the clever teams names.  I just love play on words and the cleverness of it all.  Makes me laugh and smile!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Gamblers Choice

One of the benefits to gambling (in lieu of playing in tournaments), is you get to choose who you want to play, or not play.

There is always some who gets on our nerves that we run into at tournaments.  Some players complain, some shark, some whine, some throw temper tantrums, etc.  In a tournament, we have to deal with them.

BUT!  When a player gambles, they get to choose who they want to play against and who they want to put up with.

A friend of mine told me the other day, "This guy is the WORST in the area about complaining while he plays pool.  But, I don't want to play him anymore or deal with him.  I have too many choices of who I want to gamble with, so I just don't deal with him."

I thought it was a really great point.  Because again, in a tournament we have no choice who the bracket Gods bring our way.  But when you gamble, you get to decide, "Do I want to deal with their antics today or not?"

However, I do want to point out that playing players with some sort of attitude is a great test for us in our pool journey.  We have to run into people like them anyway in many different type of tournaments, might as well make it a learning experience instead of being so pissed at them that you can't even play pool.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Discovering You're Not Alone

I write, I personally feel, quite often about personalities and such.

But, differing personalities are something we have to deal with in everyday life, and of course when we compete, too.  And if everyone had a pleasant personality, we wouldn't have much to complain about or get upset about, right?  In life and with pool, lol.

The other day I was talking to Katniss (of the Hunger Game Project of my blog).  She shared she was worried about running into her Nancy at an upcoming tournament.  If you don't know who Nancy is - read about her here.  Real quick though, Nancy is the generic name of players we all have a difficult time competing against and can't seem to defeat them for some reason.

I hadn't really asked her WHY she didn't like her Nancy, but this day I finally asked her what was up.  She was having anxiety days away about a person she may or may not even play in the tournament.

She shared, "She mentioned once that she hates playing these women that can not make two balls in a row.  So, when I have to play her, all I'm thinking about is trying to make more than two balls in a row!"

I lamented and told her, "Yea, she's a complainer.  And she talks and complains in her matches, too."

Katniss said, "Hmmm....maybe that is what she was doing: complaining and not saying that to me directly.  I need to let it go already... thank you for pointing out another side to Nancy.  I took it so personally....when in reality she probably doesn't even remember that convo!"

I shared with her, "Yeah when I used to run the Omega Tour, all she would do is talk and complain the whole time in her matches.  And yet players are supposed to be quiet when playing on the Omega Tour.  It made it really tough being a tournament director, lol!  But, yes she probably doesn't remember that she said something like that.  She complains so often about so many things, it's tough to those around her when she's playing.  So, it's definitely not just towards you.  As a matter of fact, I doubt she even realizes she does this."

Her response was, "Wow I am seeing another side to her for sure!"

This exchange is actually very familiar to a lot of us.  And we normally find such things out later.  What I mean is, sometime we go through life and run across people who may treat us rudely, are mean, say things that come across badly, etc.  We take it personal, maybe get offended and upset about how they treated us.  It's normal to feel this way.  But later on, whether it's years or months later, we find out the way we were treated was how they treat EVERYONE.  It's actually a light bulb moment for us.

For instance, my Dad used to hang up on me on the phone all the time when he would get upset at me.  I'm talking even until my mid 30s, he'd still use that gesture as a way to show he was pissed off about something/me.  At his Celebration of Life, his sister joked to her brother, "Remember when Tommy used to hang up on us all the time?"  I looked at her dumbfounded.  I had no idea he did that to other people.  AT ALL.  To learn he wasn't just hanging up on my Mom and I made me realize it was HIM and his personality, not anything I really did.

And the same for Katniss.  She hasn't been around her Nancy enough to realize that this is just the way Nancy is.  She makes comments like that in general and kinda complains a lot.  It's never personal at all, it's just her personality.  As a matter of fact, her Nancy is actually a really great woman, she just complains a lot. 

And once I shared with Katniss how her Nancy acts like that all the time, it was a sigh of relief her to find out it wasn't just her.  Actually, not about Katniss at all.  It relieved the tension she felt and the anxiety she had to find out that Nancy was kinda like a, well, Negative Nancy, lol.

One of the Four Agreements (one of my fave quotes) even says not to take things personal.  But, that is SO hard to do.  But down the road we usually find out our perception was never personal - it was the other person.